Monkey Mia with Teacher Notes

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Monkey Mia

Word runs round the campsite
They’re in! They’re coming in!
Instantly the baking beach is crowded
We stand knee-high in sea
Yearning, stretching towards the horizon
Where the dolphins appear

A meeting, we trust, of minds
Eager as ours, for contact
For reaching across the species barrier
In love

They nudge our legs
We stroke their satiny sides
Well away from the eyes and
​blow-hole vents
Each name age and relationship
Is learned from the dorsal fin
Distinctive, notched or bent
This is the larger part of the pod
Females and young

In supreme trust one mother
Allows her baby to come closer
Guarded and shepherded by its
​big sister
To swim between the legs
Right at the shore
Oh little one! we greet it
With rapture

They leave
The beach is deserted, desolate
Under the searing sun,
the blusterous hot wind

We leave
Drive back through the bright jewels
Strung on their breathless chain of heat –
Stromatolites and Pinnacles aeons old
A gorge and its curving
Stone-carving river –
There is a snake, a lizard
And woe! a car-slaughtered emu

Leaving its life-long partner

In Perth a small news item –
The dolphin baby is dead
Killed, it seems, by effluent from the camp
Oh little one!
It was our manure that was your doom

Home again
We bear bright cameos
Of beauty and strangeness and difference
Of wildness and creatures who trust
Of encounters with alien minds
Paid for by us with guilt and grief
Paid for by them with their lives.

Virginia Lowe

Notes by Jeanie Axton

This poem is an opportunity to discuss the environmental impact of Tourism. It was published in 1996. You could look at the changes that have been made in Tourism in Australia from then to protect the environment and our animal friends.

Here is a link to information on the current operation. Up to three rangers are on duty at any time and only selected people feed the dolphins.

And a link to a YouTube clip:

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